Getting out of the joint

What San Diego and San Fransisco are doing for those with marijuana related charges

By Griffin Dehne
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With the new California marijuana law becoming enacted this year, there has been a discourse over how those who were convicted with felony and misdemeanor marijuana charges will be affected. In late January, both San Diego and San Francisco have decided to look over those convicted and change the sentencing of eligible ones.

Some states that have legal recreational marijuana, including California, allow people with marijuana convictions to apply to have their record analyzed and potentially cleared based on the gratitude of the charge. However, it can be a lengthy and expensive process. In some states, it took years to pass that legislation. In Colorado it took five years after passing their legal marijuana law, to allow those convicted to apply to have their cases reviewed.

San Diego and San Fransisco are two cities in California doing this process for free.

The district attorney of San Francisco, George Gascón, is reviewing records dating back to 1975. His office will automatically erase about 3,000 total convictions there, while an extra 4,900 cases of felony charges will be examined and reduced to misdemeanors, if applicable.

San Diego has identified about 4,700 cases of misdemeanors and felonies that will be evaluated and reduced or cleared, if eligible.

Between 2006 and 2015, close to 500,000 people were arrested for marijuana charges in California. Photo by Drug Policy Alliance.

According to a 2016 report by the Drug Policy Alliance, close to 500,000 people were arrested for marijuana felony or misdemeanor charges in California, between 2006 and 2015.

With the passing of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Prop. 64, thousands of convicted californians can can petition to have their records erased or reduced.

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